Making the case for KM and OL: Is it necessary? And if so, how?

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Everyone agreed that a case needs to be made for KM and OL – indeed that’s why they came to the Open Space Session.

People noted that:

  • It is possible that the case for KM/OL cannot be made using traditional evidence-based methods. It would be dangerous to try and fail.
  • Complexity theory provides a useful framework: organizations are powerful conversations that people pass through. From this perspective making the case for KM/OL is about raising them up the conversation ladder. There are other competing conversations.
  • As a rule of thumb, funding for KM/OL projects should be halved and staff time doubled.
  • People are already doing lots of KM/OL already in their organizations.
  • Somewhat paradoxically, KM/OL maybe most visible when it is missing (i.e., quite a lot of it is going on already).

A strategy for making the case emerged from the group:

  • Build on existing KM/OL perhaps by carrying out a KM Scan (see
  • Use consultants to run workshops but implement KM internally.
  • Build the case internally, based on value added within the organization. Having outsiders champion KM/OL is problematic.